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Investigation of the nutrient storage pools in microalgae by Raman microscopy and by other non-invasive optical techniquess

Lu Gao

Phosphorus and other nutrients are discharged in waste streams and, if not sequestered, lead to eutrophication of natural waters and, often, to algal blooms. The capacity of algal cells to accumulate reserves of macronutrients can be used to complement conventional waste water treatment and to use the thus generated biomass as biofertilizer and soil conditioner for crop production. Closing of the nutrient cycles requires knowledge about the nature and dynamics of these reserve pools in algal cells which can be obtained by Raman microscopy. Potential of other non-invasive signals such as of VIS-NIR absorption or of fluorescence emission will also be explored to identify complemental optical proxies. The techniques will be used to identify dynamics of the storage pools and to parametrize mathematical models that are required for development of innovative approaches to waste water treatment and to nutrient cycling.